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Brentford Surveyors - John Henry Strachan
IntroductionPeter King has researched details of the first four Brentford Surveyors appointed following the Public Health Act 1875. See intro page for further details.
John Henry StrachanSURVEYOR/ENGINEER TO BRENTFORD 1889-1894
Born 12th Feb 1864 Willington Quay, Howdon,a small village on the banks of the Tyne.
He was educated at the local Stevenson Memorial School, and later at Ryders Academy North Shields.
Apprenticed to Naylor and Bell civil engineers Newcastle upon Tyne, a company engaged in surveying and railway works etc.
In 1883 he came south to take up the position of assistant (possibly clerk) to his brother G R Strachan, who was surveyor/engineer to Chiswick Local Board. He was to receive an annual salary of £80.
1885 saw him the successful applicant for the position of assistant to F W Lacey surveyor/engineer to Brentford Local Board. His salary £65 per annum, later increased to £80.
In May 1889 F W Lacey took up the position of surveyor/engineer to the Bournemouth Improvement Commissioners. Strachan was one of the many applicants for the Brentford post, and was appointed at a salary of £200 per annum.
In August 1894 Strachan was appointed surveyor to Heston and Isleworth at a salary of £400 per annum. His time with Heston and Isleworth was short as an attack of influenza followed by pneumonia proved fatal on 6th March 1895.Top
FamilyOn 2nd September 1891 in Gateshead Congregational Church he married Louisa Burnip.
The marriage produced two children: Gladys born in Brentford 1892, and Hope born 1st August 1895.
At the time of her husbands death Louisa was pregnant, and Hope was born at the Clapham home of her late husbands brother G R Strachan.
Louisa moved back to the Newcastle Upon Tyne area,at one time running a lodging house. She never remarried. She died in 1952, at the age of 87. She had been a widow for 57 years. In Dec of that year, her ashes were placed in her husbands grave in Ealing Cemetery.Top
Local ManWhilst in Brentford Strachan was much involved in local sporting matters.
In 1887 he was co founder of the Brentford Rowing Club, and it was at a meeting of this club on 16th Nov 1889 that the Brentford Football Club was launched, and he accepted the invitation to become a vice president.
By 1892 he was chairman of Brentford Football Club, a position he relinquished in 1894 when taking up his appointment with Heston and Isleworth.
As a mark of respect, and to enable members to attend the funeral on 9th March 1895, the match due to be played that day was cancelled.
He was committee member of the Boston Park Cricket Club.
Diaries of Fred Turner, the one time Brentford Librarian, refer to visits with the Strachan’s. An entry for December 1891 states "Mrs S is very jolly", and that for March 10th 1892 reads "Went to Strachan’s house to tea and supper -pleasant musical evening".Top
Professional QualificationsInstitute Of Civil Engineers: Application October 1892 (proposed by F W Lacey). Elected an associate member on the 6th December 1892.
In their obituary the Institute refer to him as a capable engineer of untiring industry, great geniality and scrupulous honesty.
The Municipal and County Engineers: Strachan’s appointment as surveyor/engineer to the Brentford Board enabled him to apply for membership, and he was elected member 8th June 1889.
His WorksHis time with the various local boards saw him involved in major drainage schemes, street paving, road improvement etc.
Whilst in Brentford he was responsible for the design and completion of the towns first purpose built market, opened in May 1893. At the reception following the opening, local board members praised his skill and ability, and considered him the “best surveyor/engineer a town could have”.
He oversaw the construction of the Brentford isolation hospital, and just prior to leaving Brentford,he had prepared plans for a Fire station and baths.Top
AddressesThe 1891 census sees him living as a boarder at 1, Bonchurch Villas, Windmill Rd Brentford. This is the address appearing on the marriage certificate.
The 1893/94 Brentford directory has the family living at “Arranmore” 41, Windmill Rd Brentford.
On taking up his appointment with Heston and Isleworth, the family moved to “Saltwood House” 161, Hanworth Rd Hounslow, and it was from here that he was taken to his grave.
All of the above properties remain, but with different house numbers.
John Henry Strachan's life
Born: Willington Quay, Northumberland. 12th February 1864
1891 Census Bonchurch Villas Windmill Road Brentford
Marriage: 2nd Sep 1891 Gateshead Congregational Church
1893/94 Directory “Arranmore” 41, Windmill Road Brentford John Henry Strachan
1894 until his death in March 1895 Saltwood House, Hanworth Rd, Hounslow
Death: 6th March 1895 Saltwood House Hanworth Road
Birth: 1st August 1895
The FuneralIn addition to family members,the funeral was attended by representatives from Heston and Isleworth and Brentford Councils, Brentford Football Club, Brentford Rowing club, and the Brentford Lodge of Freemasons. The cortege left Saltwood House and on reaching Brentford Bridge it was met by a large number of representative Brentonians. A service was held at Brentford Wesleyan Church, and at its conclusion the cortege continued to Ealing Cemetery. Many of the shops in Hounslow and Brentford were closed, and private houses had their blinds drawn.
Louisa Strachan, widow
1901 Census Grove Street Elswick Newcastle Upon Tyne
1911 Census 15 Otterburn Tce Jesmond Newcastle Upon Tyne
Death: 1952 Westminster Louisa Strachan 87
Page published September 2011